14.05.19 / Titan Books / Comic Adaptation / Hardback / 336pp / 978-1789090628
About X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga
PILOTING A DOOMED SHUTTLE THROUGH A MASSIVE SOLAR FLARE, JEAN GREY SACRIFICES HER LIFE TO SAVE THE X-MEN. THEN A MIRACLE OCCURS—AND SHE IS REBORN!
True to its namesake, the Phoenix rises, and Jean becomes one of the universe’s most powerful entities. But when she and the X-Men launch an assault against the clandestine organization known as the Hellfire Club, she is manipulated into betraying her fellow mutants. Jean is transformed into the Hellfire Club’s Black Queen, and her life takes a deadly turn.
As her powers surge out of control, it becomes clear to all that the Phoenix must be stopped. Some would destroy her regardless of the cost, but the X-Men desperately seek to defeat her without killing Jean in the process.
The fate of our world hangs on their success.
About Stuart Moore
Winner of the Eisner Award for Best Editor, Stuart Moore’s comics and graphic novel work includes the original science-fiction series Earthlight, Shadrach Stone, and PARA. He has written Web of Spider-Man, Namor, and Wolverine Noir, the adaptation of the bestselling novel Redwall, and two volumes of the award-winning The Nightmare Factory. He also wrote Marvel prose novels Civil War and Thanos: Death Sentence.
Guest Post: An Early Frost by Stuart Moore
If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with the Dark Phoenix Saga. The original story, a long-running serial within The Uncanny X-Men, still stands as a landmark in the comics field. It’s inspired spinoffs, homages, parodies, thousands and thousands of cosplayers, and not one but two film adaptations, the second of which is poised to make its large-screen debut.
Adapting Dark Phoenix to prose was a fairly daunting assignment. The storyline ran through more than a dozen issues of the original comic, rising to the fore and subsiding to a minor subplot, before roaring to a very unexpected conclusion. Writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne, complemented by the fine linework of inker Terry Austin, brought to a head long-simmering storylines involving Moira MacTaggert, the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, and the Hellfire Club. But they also threw off new characters at a crazy clip: Sebastian Shaw, Jason Wyngarde, a host of new Guardsmen, Kitty Pryde (Kitty Pryde!)…
…and, of course, Emma Frost.
Let’s talk about Emma, shall we?
As first introduced in these comics, Emma is basically a colorful henchman. As White Queen of the Hellfire Club, she psychically invades the minds of the X-Men at the bidding of her King, Sebastian Shaw. The restrictions of the format limited her to a few pages per issue, and she dropped out of the story after a few skirmishes with the X-Men.
Since that time, several writers—including Claremont himself—have returned to Emma Frost, shaping her into a far deeper and richer character. The fallen daughter of a rich family, seeking power by playing a role among powerful, decadent men. A hardened soul with a compassionate center buried so deep, it’s glimpsed only occasionally—even by those who know her best.
In adapting and updating the original story for a modern audience, I couldn’t resist tapping into this richer portrayal. In particular, I wanted to sow the seeds of Emma’s eventual relationship with Scott Summers (Cyclops). I knew this would add conflict to the romance between Scott and Jean Grey, which is the heart of our story.
But it wound up doing something more interesting than that. Just as Jean is tempted by the power of the Phoenix, Scott is also tempted, in his own way, when he touches Emma’s mind. And Jean—whose consciousness is constantly expanding, as the power within her grows—recognizes his temptation. And understands it.
Make no mistake: THE DARK PHOENIX SAGA is Jean Grey’s story. But I welcomed the chance to deepen the commitment between her and Scott…to place them, just possibly, on a more equal level than before.
This is a minor part of the novel, enough that I don’t feel I’ve crossed the dreaded no-spoilers line by writing about it here. But it helped me to do what I always aim for with a novelization: stay true to the original story, while taking advantage of the larger canvas of prose to explore the characters in more detail.
I hope, anyway. As always, the reader will be the judge.
Thank you to Stuart Moore for letting us in on your experience when taking on the daunting task of turning a classic X-Men comic into a novel. And how you made it your own by building on the lore of the characters. Stuart has a keen eye for this sort of task. Thanos’ Death Sentence novel was sublime chaos so I am desperately keen to delve into another soaring adaptation of a key plot in the history of the X-Men and the transformation of Jean Gray into the Phoenix. Check out all of Stuart’s work with Marvel as soon as you can as he is one of many talented authors bringing the rich and vast comic book mythology to the mainstream beyond Disney.